Posts in champagne
A Tale of Two Houses: Ayala and Bollinger Champagne

We’re all super excited for this weekend’s Champagne Tent Events in Hollywood and San Francisco, so we’ve been talking about bubbles all week. I had a chance to chat with Valerie McDaniel, who represents both Bollinger and Ayala, and I learned a ton about these fascinating, historic houses. Ayala and Bollinger are two of the most notable producers in the village of Aÿ, in the heart of the Valle de Marne, and since 2005 they’ve been inextricably linked under the same ownership. But their friendship goes back even further. Ayala’s tale is one of riots and war and golden times, and it’s a great foray into Champenoise history.

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Taittinger Somm Night

Some of us industry folk had a beautiful opportunity recently to attend the annual Taittinger Somm Night event in SF. This is a great occasion wherein vendors, distributors, retailers, and wait staff can get together and hang out. It’s especially nice because we all get to be under one roof without any expectations of wheeling and dealing – we don’t need to sell or push or network. We were there to unwind, chat, and drink some tasty Champagne as we roll into the ever-busy Autumn months.

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The Next Generation: Delphine Brulez of Champagne Louise Brison

Delphine Brulez, winemaker at Champagne Louise Brison, hails from the Aube, a southwestern enclave in Champagne that has always had a touch of a rebellious streak. Closer in geography, soil, and spirit to Burgundy than to Reims, many winemakers here are leading the grower-producer revolution that is focusing on terroir—that is, single-vineyard, single-vintage, even single-varietal Champagne—in a region where blending has defined the style for centuries. The Aube is, at the very least, making us rethink what we know about Champagne.

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For the Love of the Vineyard: Champagne Pierre Paillard

Quentin Paillard cares about his vines. His family has been growing grapes and making wine in the village of Bouzy since 1799—so it’s fair to say that he’s deeply rooted (pun intended!) in its soil. But upon speaking to him, it’s clear that their soil and their vines are truly the driving force behind the domaine. His passion for the work they do in the vineyards is palpable, and this is indeed the unique advantage of being a grower-producer among Champagne’s many negociants. All their wines are made from this devotedly grown estate fruit, with a heavy emphasis on preserving the character of the vintage, even in their nonvintage offerings. And there’s some alchemy that happens between soil and fruit and year that makes these Pinot-driven wines perennial staff favorites here at K&L.

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